Truro Group HQ is a standard design surface blockhouse of concrete construction similar to Exeter (Poltimore Park) and Wrexham (Borras). The building is partly rendered and partly faced in local granite. The administration block alongside is also faced in local stone.
The operations room and No. 11 Group closed on the 31st March 1973 and all the posts were transferred to 10 Group. The premises lay unused for two years until 1st June 1975 when the operations room was re-opened for a special duties team within No. 10 Group. At General stand down on 30th September 1991, the special duties team were transferred to the RAF and continued uninterrupted until total stand down on 31st December 1995 making it the last ROC Group Control to close.
From that date the building was retained under care and maintenance of the RAF at St. Mawgan and the administration block was leased to the Truro Driving Test Centre The driving test centre moved out at the end of 2001 and the site was offered for sale. The bunker was demolished in 2003 and new housing now stands on the site.
Internally the protected blockhouse is little changed from 1973, painted cream with original names remaining on all the doors. The building is now damp with the paint pealing in places and when visited in February 2002 the power had been disconnected and the windows of the administration block boarded up.
The main entrance is in a recessed porch, to the right is a steel blast door into the filter room with its banks of filters still in place and to the left a second blast door; once inside the main spine corridor is to the right. The first room on the right is the plant room which is still in excellent condition. The ventilation plant and trunking is original but the compressors were replaced in the 1980’s and still look new. At the back of the plant room is the standby generator room, with only 500 hours on the clock of the Dorman diesel generator. The room also contains switchgear and the control cabinet for the generator.
The next room on the right is the two level control room, with a balcony looking down into the well. There were various ordnance survey maps around the walls showing South West England and the whole of the UK (one of these shows the Backbone microwave network). These maps were all removed as they were due to be burnt. On the floor is a portable GPO switchboard and a UHF radio switchboard (which was also removed and will be taken to Acomb). There is nothing on the balcony above apart from the pipes for the BPI and FSM.
Beyond the control room is a small store (empty) and stairs to the upper level. Beyond the stairs is the GPO room which still retains part of a small wall mounted GPO distribution frame and some more recent BT junction boxes and wiring.
Beyond the GPO room is the canteen (now completely empty) and beyond that the small kitchen which is still fully equipped with 1960’s appliances. There is an industrial Creda cooker and separate grill, a sink, water heater and long food preparation service and a glass serving window into the canteen. Beyond the canteen is an air lock and to the right the emergency exit blast door and a second recessed porch.
On the right hand side of the spine corridor the first two rooms are for decontamination with a sink and a shower head. The next room is the ladies toilet with two cubicles, two showers, two sinks, a water heater and an incinerator for sanitary towels. The male toilets have 2 sinks, two urinals, one cubicle and one shower. Beyond the toilets is the officers room with two desks and a keyboard and the final two rooms are the male and female dormitories which are completely empty.
On the upper floor apart from the balcony there is the tank room and the radio room with parts of the floor mounted racks still in place. There are a number of 1960’s telephones still in place throughout the blockhouse.
Being close to Truro City centre the former Group headquarters was a prime candidate for development and shortly after the site was sold in 2002 it was announced that the bunker would be demolished and a new housing estate built on the site. Demolition started in April 2003.
Thanks to Ward Westwater for arranging this visit.